Privacy – What is Google doing with my profile?
February 13, 2012 | By Damon Armour, Assistant Director for Information Security/CISO, contributing writer
Google describes the change: “We’re getting rid of over 60 different privacy policies across Google and replacing them with one that’s a lot shorter and easier to read. Our new policy covers multiple products and features, reflecting our desire to create one beautifully simple and intuitive experience across Google.” It sounds like a solid plan. But in the end, Google will acquire a much better profile on their customers that will result in a better understanding of you. This information should lead to better, more tailored advertising, which is the main income source for Google.
Is this change leading Google down the path of “evil”? This question was brought up across the media and blogosphere over the last couple of weeks. What is Google going to do with this more streamlined approach to data management? Make money! This is their business model. The need to improve their process and stay competitive has been driven by the growth and success of Facebook. Facebook provides a free service that collects information on its users. That information is extremely valuable to advertising firms.
Google’s Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) has some excellent questions and answers. I wanted to highlight some of those below. The full FAQ can be found at:http://www.google.com/policies/faq/
Is Google collecting more information about me?
No, Google is not collecting more data about you. Our new policy simply makes it clear that we use data to refine and improve your experience on Google across the services you sign in to use. This is something we’ve already been doing and we plan to continue doing in the future so we can provide a simpler, more intuitive experience.
What choices do I have to control how my information is used?
You still have choice and control. You don’t need to sign in to use many of our services, including Search, Maps and YouTube. If you’re signed in, you can still edit or turn off your Search history, switch Gmail chat to “off the record,” control the way Google tailors ads to your interests, use Incognito mode on Chrome, or use any of the other privacy tools we offer. The Google Dashboard is an excellent starting point if you want to understand the data associated with each product you use and control your personal data settings on Google.
Google Policy Overview:
Google’s Terms of Service: